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Last sync:2019-06-14 06:30
Victoria demonstrates the difference between anaesthetic and paralytic agents.
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Frankenstein MD is a multi-platform series based on Frankenstein, a novel by Mary Shelley.
The series is developed by Lon Harris, Brett Register, and Bernie Su
The series is produced by Pemberley Digital.
and distributed by PBS Digital Studios.

See more details at

Victoria Frankenstein - Anna Lore -
Eli Lavenza - Brendan Bradley -
Rory Clerval - Sara Fletcher -

Executive Producer - Bernie Su -
Executive Producer - Matt Vree -
Executive Producer - Hank Green -
Co-Executive Producer - Lon Harris -
Co-Executive Producer - Brett Register -
Producer - Tracy Bitterolf -
Co Producer -Tamara Krinsky -
Consulting Producer - Frederick Kim -
Director - Brett Register -
Writer - Lon Harris -
Cinematography - Matt Ryan -
Editor - Sam Mollo -
Transmedia Editor - Christine Linnell -
Associate Producer - Ariana Nedelman
Science Advisor - Joe Hanson -
Assistant Director - Jordan Paley
Production Designer - Katie Moest -
Stylist - Jessica Snyder -
Assistant Editor - Brennan Barsell
DIT - Lisa Curtis
Propmaster - Audrey Lee
Set Decorator - Kim Brunner
Script Supervisor - Maggie Werning
Makeup - Roxanne Pike
Sound Mixer/Boom - Geoff Allison
Key Grip - Oliver Bukowsky
Gaffer - Matt Hingstman
Colorist - Brennan Barsell
Camera Assistant - Kelsey Taylor
Intro Music - Sally Chou
Intro Design - Andrew Swaner
Social Media Manager - Christina Cooper -
Graphic Designer - Becca Rodrigues -
Production Assistant - Thomas Della Bella
Production Assistant - Anthony Toledo
Channel Manager for PBS Digital Studios - Raymond Schillinger
Closed Captions - Jared M. Gair
[PBS Opening Theme]

Victoria: Welcome to another mind-expanding episode of Frankenstein, MD, the show that doesn't just make you smarter. It makes you much, much smarter.

I wanted to have Iggy back on the show today, but Robert tells me that with all of this equipment, we only have room for three people on camera at a time.

Instead, I'll be joined today by two old friends from my hometown, Eli and Rory, for some experiments involving various controlled substances. So, before we go any further, let me assure you. I am a trained professional administering legal medical treatments in a controlled environment. The entire staff of Frankenstein, MD urges you to just say no to recreational drug use.

[Frankenstein, MD opening theme]

Victoria: I'm joined by Eli Lavenza and Rory Clerval. Robert, give them lower thirds.

Rory: Ooh! Lower thirds! Just like being on a real show.

Victoria: It is a real show. It's my show.

Rory: Real shows have craft services.

Eli: I've had more drugs to eat today than food. That can't be healthy.

Victoria: So, we've just returned to the lab from phase two of a new drug trial being conducted here on campus. The only information we, as subjects, were given is what? Eli?

Eli: Oh! Me! Umm, they wanted subjects who were seeking to boost their ability to retain and remember new information.

Victoria: Anything else?

Rory: Ooh ooh ooh! Me! Miss. Frankenstein?

Victoria: Yes.

Rory: Uh, they said-

Victoria: And it's Dr. Frankenstein.

Eli: But...

Victoria: Soon.

Rory: They said we're not supposed to use any other drugs while using the one being tested, otherwise they could interact negatively-

Victoria: Don't worry about that. The researcher's main goal in a trial like this one is to determine the efficacy of the medication and to note the level and severity of the side effects reported by the subjects. But by taking weekly surveys plus blood and stool samples from our guinea pigs here, I intend to identify the active ingredient being administered.

Rory: Guinea pigs?

Eli: Did she say stool?

Victoria: You don't have to produce it here in the room with me. Just take these cups and bring it back to me later.

Eli: That's somehow worse.

Victoria: Some general notes: Although I am participating in the drug trial, Iggy is not and will ensure that we produce unbiased and verifiable data. Oh, and Eli and Rory are engaged in a physical relationship-

Eli: Come again?

Rory: Victoria!

Victoria: But I doubt that will impact the results of the drug trial. Or the results of today's real experiment!

Rory: But I... I thought that the drug trial was the experiment.

Victoria: What? No! That won't do at all.

Eli: Really? Because it's a long drive back to Geneva.

Victoria: We can't take results from the drug trial yet. We've only had one dose. So instead, I've prepared a simple demonstration of the largely misunderstood but important distinction between paralytic and anaesthetic agents. Okay you two! Strip!

Rory: Oh! I didn't realize it was that kind of show.

Eli: Oh sure. When I suggest we make a video it's gross, but...

Victoria: Robert will, of course, stop filming this part.

Rory: Oh really?

Victoria: Now, please.

A subject being operated upon is typically treated with a combination of anaesthetics and a neuromuscular blocking agent. This provides the surgeon with the paralysis needed for the operation, and the patient with a loss of sensation. But, paralysis and decreased sensation don't have to go together.

For example, we can administer an analgesic to Eli here via epidural which will inhibit pain sensation in his lower body, but still leaving him conscious and able to move.

Eli: Are you following any of this?

Rory: Can't move. Talking like dying guy in bad movie.

Victoria: Rory here has received succinylcholine, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, but at a far lower dose than what you would receive for a surgical procedure. This allows us to immobilize her entire body without having to mechanically ventilate her lungs. 

Rory: Must keep... fighting it.

Victoria: You're doing fine. Early paralytics used in medicine were extracted from curare, the same vine employed to produce the infamous poison-tipped darts used by the tribes of South America's rainforests.

Rory: Why didn't you paralyze Eli? I like moving way more than he does.

Eli: How long is she going to be like this?

Victoria: Paralyzed?

Rory and Eli: Yes.

Victoria: At this dose?

Rory and Eli: Yes.

Victoria: I'm not sure.

Eli: What?

Victoria: It's just a little paralysis. They do it to surgical patients who have suffered massive trauma like, every day.

Eli: Well, what if her nose itches? How's she going to scratch it?

Rory: Why would you say that? Now my nose itches.

Victoria: That is a perfect illustration of the principle that I'm trying to illustrate, Rory. You see, the neural transmission mechanisms responsible for muscle control differ from those responsible for sensation.

Eli: Well, yeah. Obviously.

Victoria: For example. Eli here should have diminished pain sensation in the lower half of his body. Observe.

Eli: You did not just do that.

Rory: What did she do?

Victoria: Rory, on the other hand, has been physically slowed by the paralytic agent, but should feel everything as she would normally. Observe.

Rory: No. Don't observe.

Victoria: Hang on.

Eli: What?

Victoria: Her heart's racing. She's sweating.

Eli: Is it the drugs? Are they socializing?

Victoria: You mean interacting, and no. She's having a panic attack.

Eli: Because you gave her too many drugs.

Victoria: Eli, she needs more drugs.

Eli: What?

Victoria: A mild sedative should calm her down.

Eli: I'm coming over there. I felt that.

Victoria: So, now that the limited and temporary effects of both these drugs have largely worn off, both Eli and Rory have full motor control and sensation. Feeling restored and refreshed?

Eli: I'm aware that my butt hurts. So, sure.

Rory: Mm, call me later. I had a good time with- You're fun.

Eli: I should go after her.

Victoria: That's just the haloperidol. She's great.

Eli: She's not great. And for the record? We're your friends. Not your guinea pigs or your test subjects.

Victoria: You were never in any real danger.

Eli: That's what you said to me in the third grade. Right after you tried to amputate my finger.

Victoria: That paper cut was pretty deep. Don't play around with gangrene, E. C'mon. Don't be mad.

Eli: I'm not. Don't worry about it.

Victoria: Don't forget to call me with your results! And send me your stool!

Eli: Not doing that!

Victoria: Don't worry about him. The effects of all of these drugs will wear off in a couple of hours. They'll be fine. Unless they drove themselves. I maybe should have mentioned that. I'll be right back.

[Frankenstein, MD end screen]